A pilot study called Box, conducted by researchers at the University of Gothenburg, will try to establish the possibility of large-scale pumps to inject oxygen and life into the lifeless seabed of the Baltic Sea. For that they have the financial incentive of SEK 20 million(US$2.6 million) from the Swedish National Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) and the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet).
Approximately 100,000 km² of the Baltic's seafloor (1/4 of its total area) is a variable dead zone. The more saline (and denser) water remains on the bottom, isolating it from surface waters and the atmosphere. Seven of the world’s ten largest marine dead zones areas of oceans or seas with markedly diminished oxygen levels are in the Baltic Sea, which was declared a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) in 2005, by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) .
"We are going to investigate how you succeed in retaining the phosphorus in the bottom sediment under different external circumstances, with and without artificial oxygenation, in two coastal basins. Among other things we will be using the prototype of a wind-driven pump, but we will also investigate how a full-scale pump system in the Baltic proper might be designed," said project director Anders Stigebrandt.